Keep Future Fund Proposal on Track

For most of the current 60-day regular session of the West Virginia Legislature, it has seemed as if state Senate President Jeff Kessler’s Future Fund proposal finally was enjoying the smooth sailing it should have had when he suggested it a few years ago.

Kessler, D-Marshall, is right to believe the state should be putting aside a few million dollars each year, for use in taking on some of the big projects government normally cannot afford. His idea is to use a portion of oil and gas severance tax revenue.

During the past week, Kessler’s original idea has been altered substantially. A House of Delegates bill would reduce revenue directed to the Future Fund dramatically. Other, much more severe amendments, have been suggested.

Under Kessler’s plan, the Future Fund would have contained about $127 million within five years. The House bill whittles that down to about $72 million.

Supporters of the Future Fund may well adopt a “something is better than nothing” attitude and agree to the House plan. Doing so probably would be the realistic attitude.

But killing the idea altogether should not be tolerated. The Future Fund is a good idea – worth fighting for during the closing hours of the legislative session.